A Patient Receives The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Prosthetic Eye

It is an exciting time for the world of prosthetics, as a patient has just received the world's first fully 3-D printed prosthesis. Compared with traditional acrylic prosthetics, this new prosthetic eye looks more natural, and 3D printing drastically reduces the waiting time to two to three weeks instead of the usual six weeks.
A Patient Receives The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Prosthetic Eye
A Patient Receives The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Prosthetic Eye

In addition, 3D Printing is a less invasive process since patients only have to scan their eye sockets digitally to create a realistic image. The patient, Steve Verze, was happy with the outcome of the surgery, and he believes that 3D digital printing will become better in the future. According to the hospital, the 3D printed prosthetic eye is superior to traditional ones due to the way light can travel through its full depth. Verze echoes this sentiment, saying he has always been self-conscious about his artificial prosthetic.

What is 3D printing?

Modern technology makes it possible to make almost anything you need at the touch of a button. Consequently, our way of manufacturing products is gradually changing to make technological advancements worldwide. Among these changes is 3D printing, which has become increasingly popular to print three-dimensional objects and create things using additive manufacturing. A part is built by layering material during an additive process until it reaches the desired shape. Each of these layers represents a thin cross-section of the whole object. With 3D Printing, you can create complex shapes more efficiently than traditional manufacturing methods.

About Fraunhofer Cuttlefish: Eye

By using Fraunhofer software Cuttlefish, it is possible to make prosthetic eyes that look more realistic and in far less time than traditional techniques. Cuttlefish's algorithms make this possible. In collaboration with a British firm, Ocupeye Ltd., IDG's R&D team has devised a method for creating a virtual representation of the eye using a scan of the socket and an image of a normal eye. This digital platform makes 3D printing possible.

However, you will need to install the software printing driver in order to print the model on a multicolor, multi-material 3-D printer. Now, innovative technology is being used to produce prosthetics, and, according to Fraunhofer, 40 patients will receive 3D-printed prosthetic eyes at the London Moorfields Eye Hospital as part of the clinical trial.

Removal of an Eye: Is it necessary

Ocular prostheses are necessary after an eye is surgically removed as a result of injury or illness, such as cancer. More than eight million people suffer from these conditions worldwide, and roughly three-quarters of a million live in Europe. The process of measuring and making eye sockets has been unchanged for decades. For children, molding can be invasive, painful, and distressing, so a general anesthetic is generally required. This subsequent, time-consuming, handcrafted process can take several months to complete, further escalating into a stressful situation. The new process makes effective use of advanced 3D printing equipment to increase productivity and provide a better and faster overall experience for patients.

3D Printing Preparations

At the first appointment, the patient will undergo a non-invasive, 2.4-second, zero-ionizing scan using a customized, Tomey-designed optical coherence tomography scanner. Hospitals commonly use this scanner. The Fraunhofer IGD then develops a color-calibrated digital image of a healthy eye by scanning its socket.

With Tomey's technology, it is possible to measure the removed eye socket precisely and to produce an image calibrated to the healthy eyeball. Cuttlefish: Eye then creates 3D models from the data within a short time frame. Cuttlefish's 3D printers utilize the universal Cuttlefish print driver, which is known for its color consistency and accurate rendering of translucent materials. There are countless types of printers that use Fraunhofer technology worldwide. Fit AG in Lupburg, Germany, is one of the most experienced companies in additive manufacturing, particularly in the medical industry, which prints 3D prostheses. Once printed, an experienced team of ocularists inspects and gives the prostheses final polishing. In the UK, Ocupeye could produce 10,000 prosthetics a year with only one 3D printer.

Safety and Demand

The new manufacturing process includes quality controls at every stage. For instance, the Cuttlefish: Eye is a Class 1 medical device. Medical products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) took extensive biocompatibility tests before granting approval for clinical trials. Over the course of a year, patients will undergo several examinations by trained clinical staff, during which they are asked to provide feedback on their experiences.

The group is expecting 40 patients to take part in the trial. Feedback is a vital step towards fulfilling and meeting the project goals and vision. Patients who need prosthetic eyes will receive the appropriate product through their regular medical care. Medical optical coherence tomography is used to achieve this result through devices made by Tomey Japan, as well as their European subsidiary headquarters in Nürnberg. Tomey has taken the knowledge derived during their development and research phase and put it to use in their next generation of devices. A few geographically dispersed 3D printers and one printing device per medical facility may be enough to meet the estimated global market demand of 8 million people.

Disclaimer: We may link to sites in which we receive compensation from qualifying purchases. We only promote products and services that we believe in.

Continue Reading